Weight Loss Basics

Manila Bulletin, January 8, 2006 | Go to article overview

Weight Loss Basics


Byline: Dr. Jose S. Pujalte Jr.

"Tomorrow the enlarging of consciousness by diet and breathing."

a" W.H. Auden (1907-1973)

Anglo-American poet

Spain, 1937 (l.72)

NOW that we are slowly getting back to our senses after an orgy of food and drink, itas just right that we relearn weight loss principles. This article is for those who gained weight during the holidays (who didnat?). Therefore, whether itas added avoirdupois of 5, 10, 15 or even 20 pounds, itas time to face the facts.

Calories, Let me Count the Ways. What is a calorie? The original, precise definition is "the amount of heat required to raise at a pressure of 1 standard atmosphere the temperature of 1 gram of water 1A[degrees] Celsius." In popular use, calories are just the energy converted from food. The body needs constant fuel to function a" that is from breathing to walking to thinking and everything else. The main sources of energy for the body come from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. However, they do not provide the same energy. Proteins and carbohydrates have about 4 calories per gram and fats have 9 calories per gram. Now, calories ingested are either converted to physical energy or if there is too much of it, the body stores it as fat. To mobilize this fat, the person must either reduce the amount of calories taken so that the body will rely on its fat stores OR increase the amount of physical activity a" to burn more calories. Therefore, from this explanation itas easy to understand plump thighs and potbellies. Barring disease or metabolic disorder, that person gained weight because she ate more calories than she could burn.

Caloric Needs Differ. Unfortunately, thatas not all of it. If weight management was just a simple a matter of calories in, energy out, there wouldnat be a billion dollar weight loss industry. Age is a factor because metabolism naturally slows with aging. Also, without any exercise, the amount of muscle in the body tends to decrease while fat increases in aging. Sex is a factor because men tend to have more muscles and burn more calories than women. As for body size, a bigger body mass requires more energy than does its smaller counterpart. The body composition is also a factor since muscular body will have a higher basal metabolic rate (rate of energy use for basic bodily functions) than a fatladen body.

Bottom-Line Equation. Hereas the math of weight loss: 1 pound of fat = 3,500 calories. SO, you will need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose one pound. To lose one pound a week, you must eat 500 calories less a day for 7 days (500 x 7 days = 3,500 calories). Losing more, from the 8 to 10 pounds a week fad diets, is actually water or muscle weight loss. The weight bounces right back when the diet ends.

Five Proven Weight Loss Strategies. According to Mayo Clinic diet and nutrition experts, weight loss can be achieved by internalizing the following five strategies. …

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